GameStop, seeking to restore goodwill among its customers, is giving away $50 gift cards and running a âbuy 2 get 1 freeâ promotion on pre-owned titles as an apology for its decision to remove coupons from retail packages of Square Enixâs âDeus Ex: Human Revolutionâ last week (via Joystiq).
âWe regret the events surrounding this title release and that our customers were put in the middle of this issue between GameStop and Square Enix,â Paul Raines, GameStopâs chief executive, wrote in an email to members of the chainâs loyalty program as well as customers who pre-ordered the affected PC edition of âDeus Ex.â
It remains unclear whether GameStop is extending its offer to walk-in customers who purchased copies of the game (via PC Magazine). In PC-edition packages, Square Enix had included a promotional offer from streaming game site OnLive, which GameStop regards as a competitor. The chain faced customer outcry after news reports revealed that GameStop had directed store employees to open the âDeus Exâ packages, remove and discard the OnLive coupons, and restock the packages for sale. More on the issue at CBS News.
Walmart: Xbox Price Promotion Was an ‘Error’
In other video game news, Joystiq reports that Walmartâs stated price ârollbackâ of the Xbox 360 Kinect console bundle in an advertising circular was an âerror.â The retailer says that it is honoring the $50 sale on the video game system this week, but it will not permanently reduce the price of the bundle, according to the report.
Microsoft hints that it has more than just video game announcements in store for next weekâs E3 Expo, as it touts its Xbox console as an increasingly popular hub for streaming video and other home entertainment content.
In fact, â40 percent of all Xbox activity now is non-game,â says Frank Shaw, Microsoftâs VP of corporate communications, in a corporate blog post. âPut another way, weâre seeing an average of 30 hours of video consumption per month per Xbox, a number that is growing fast.â
The company now claims sales of 53 million Xbox 360 consoles to date, along with 30 million members of its Xbox Live online services.
Packaged video game software sales in April increased 26% year-over-year to $503 million, according to the NPD Group. But Sonyâs April 20 shutdown of its PlayStation Network appears to have had some impact on the market.
While Sony sold 204,000 PS3 consoles during the month, representing a 13% increase over sales in April 2009, rival Microsoft sold 297,000 Xbox 360 consoles during the month, a 60% increase from last year.
As CNBC reports, the newest installment of Sonyâs popular âSocomâ franchise also failed to chart with the monthâs 10 best-selling games. That is likely due to the game being released one day before Sony shut down its network to assess the extent of hackersâ attack.
Microsoft issued on Tuesday an open call for participants in a public preview of âan updated disc formatâ for its DVD-based Xbox 360 game console.
The company did not disclose specifics of the update. Gamasutra speculates it could entail a new approach to securing the content of the DVD-9 game discs. A source tells Digital Foundry that game developers could gain 1 GB of storage capacity on the discs â a significant increase, given the discsâ maximum capacity stands at about 8GB â if Microsoft implements the new change.
In a post on the companyâs Major Nelson blog, Microsoftâs Larry Hryb says that the Microsoft is seeking âmultiple thousandsâ of Xbox Live users for the beta program.
Roughly half of the latest-generation videogame consoles sit in living/family rooms, according to a new Nielsen study. Unsurprisingly, the system most likely to be found in family rooms is the Nintendo Wii (59% of console households). However, with increasing penetration of motion controllers from Microsoft and Sony, the Xbox 360 (currently in 42% of console householdsâ living rooms) and the PlayStation 3 (45%) could both gain share.
Some 20% of consoles are located in kidsâ bedrooms; the Xbox 360 is most popular in this space (28%), nearly double the rate of the PS3 and Wii.
Nielsen derives the percentages from consumers’ claims of TV ownership, location, and console connection in a January 2011 survey.
Sales of Xbox 360 consoles increased 68% year-over-year in November, thanks to Microsoftâs introduction of the Kinect motion sensor accessory, according to new data from the NPD Group (via Information Week). Meanwhile, Activisionâs âCall of Duty: Black Opsâ rung up sales of 8.4 million units during the month, accounting for an estimated 25% of all Novemberâs videogame software sales.
Total game software sales (not including downloads) topped $1.46 billion in November, up 4% from 2009. Total hardware sales increased 2% year-over-year to $1.08 billion.
Separately, NPD reported that retailers sold some 400,000 Blu-ray players during the week encompassing Black Friday, an increase of more than 50% from the corresponding period in 2009 (via Home Media Magazine). The median price per unit during the week was $113, down 23% from the median player price of $145 last year.
Some more datapoints from Activision today on âCall of Duty: Black Ops.â Estimated sales of the game during its first five days topped $650 million, an increase of 18% over the $550 million five-day tally by last yearâs franchise installment, âCall of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.â Meanwhile, according to Microsoft, more than 2.6 million unique gamers played âBlack Opsâ on Xbox Live last Tuesday, Nov. 9; that figure also is up 18% from the 2.2 million who played âModern Warfare 2â via Xbox Live on Nov. 10, 2009 (also a Tuesday).
Regarding the overall holiday season performance of âBlack Ops,â Activision says it âremains cautiously optimistic.â
Videogame software sales for the month of October rose 6% year-over-year to $605 million, while accessory sales for the industry increased 18% on the introduction of Sonyâs PlayStation Move motion controller, according to NPD (via Bloomberg).
The gains were not enough to offset a 30% annual decline in both console and portable hardware unit sales, which brought overall industry revenue down by 4% during the month.
The Xbox 360 system, however, did see a year-on-year sales gain in October â perhaps in anticipation of Microsoftâs Kinect, which went on sale Nov. 4. Microsoft separately reported that sales of the Kinect topped 1 million units in the deviceâs first 10 days (via Information Week); the company expects to sell 5 million Kinect systems by yearâs end.
Online PlayStation 3 gamers will now have a dayâs jump on the Xbox 360 audience for new downloadable content, as the Sony-owned digital distribution network moves its release date from Thursday to Tuesday. First content to be released under the new schedule next week includes an expansion package for Activisionâs âCall of Duty: Modern Warfare 2â and a downloadable game for Sonyâs PSP device. By Kotaku
Following Microsoftâs announcement that it has surpassed sales of 40 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide, PC World breaks down the platformâs U.S. installed-base relative to the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3. In the U.S., Xbox 360 still trails the Wii by some 10 million units â but it continued to maintain a nine-million-unit lead over the PS3 audience. By PC World
In advance of the NPD Groupâs February sales data (expected this Thursday), Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has issued his own sales preview, which forecasts software sales to be down yet again. Software sales were down 12 percent in January and Pachter believes theyâll be down 10 percent to $665 million for February despite new releases like âBioShock 2,â âHeavy Rain,â and âDanteâs Inferno.â
From a hardware perspective, although the Wii continues to be the top seller, itâs still suffering from shortages, and Pachter expects February sales declined 40 percent to 455,000 units. He also thinks Xbox 360âs sales declined 10 percent to 350,000 units. PS3 meanwhile likely grew 9 percent to 300,000 units sold, he said. By GameDaily
In further integration of digital media platforms, a firmware update will bring Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm to Microsoftâs Xbox 360 console tomorrow. Users must have an Xbox Live Gold membership ($50/year) to access the services from their console; both Twitter and Facebook require users to be at least 18 years of age. By CNET